Toronto Centre Parents for Public Education, Urban Alliance on Race Relations and Hispanic Mothers with Autistic and ADHD Children Ontario Urge #TDSB Trustees to vote NO to an austerity budget for public education!

The Ford government’s removal of 1.4 billion from Ontario’s budget for public education has forced public school board’s to cut public services in order to deliver the required balanced budget. We believe that the TDSB should refuse to cut public education on behalf of the Ford government. The explanations and justifications are false and mask the true impacts of the cuts. The reality is that the cuts to deliver a balanced budget are devastating for our public schools and the students who rely on public school supports the most. We call on Trustees to vote NO.

In addition to increased class sizes and a significant loss of high school programs, a balanced budget requires cuts to outdoor education, student supports (psychologists, social workers, speech pathologists, etc.), cuts to libraries, cuts to music in schools, international language programs and much more. The cuts will deepen the already existing inequality among schools and students, and rip the best parts of school out of our public schools. The cuts will disproportionately impact Black, Brown and Indigenous students.

The cuts set up parents to fight each other for the crumbs left on the floor. The response to these cuts cannot be a false choice between busing for French Immersion schools and maintaining speech language pathologists, or outdoor education, or safe buildings.

Our collective responsibility lies not only in the well-being and success of our own children and the continued funding of the programs they benefit from, but in the success and well-being of all the children in our city and our province. We are powerful when we act in solidarity, and together we can fight these attempts to dismantle our public education system.

Students have said no to these cuts, parents have said no to these cuts, and education workers have said no to these cuts. We stand united.Trustees should refuse to perform the impossible task of balancing an underfunded budget, and instead join our demand for the reinvestment in our school system that all students deserve.

We are asking you, our Trustees, to fight these cuts outright. Fight harder, be brave and take bold action because students deserve a fully-funded, equitable education system in this city.

The TDSB votes on the budget on June 19th. Contact your School Board Trustee to urge them to vote NO before June 19th.

 

Let’s make sure Ontario steps up against Islamophobia

United Against Islamophobia is calling on the Government of Ontario to designate January 29 as a Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia.

On January 29, 2017, six worshippers were killed and many others injured during evening prayer at the Islamic Cultural Centre in Quebec City. In that year, hate crimes against Muslims in Ontario rose by 207%. Most recently, a horrific attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, has left us all shaken.

Islamophobia and hate are on the rise in our province, and we must take action. Our government must commit to rejecting forces that negatively impact the lives of fellow Ontarians.

Join us by sending an email to your MPP. Tell your MPP racism and hate are not welcome here.

United Against Islamophobia campaign partners include:

Urban Alliance on Race Relations
Canadian Council of Imams
Ontario Federation of Labour
Toronto and York Region Labour Council
OCASI- Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants
Canadian Chinese National Council-Toronto Chapter
Muslim Council of Peel
Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action
Council of Agencies Serving South Asians (CASSA)
Muslim Youth Fellowship
Abu Hurairah Centre
The Rivers of Hope Collective
Black Muslim Initiative
Salaam Canada
Muslim Neighbourhood Nexus
Muslim Association of Brantford
Yaqeen Institute
Dar Al-Tawheed Islamic Centre
London Muslim Mosque
Danforth Islamic Centre
Al Huda Institute Canada
Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
Across Boundaries
Faith in the City
South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO)
Punjabi Community Health Services
Canadian Council of Indian Imams
Colour of Poverty-Colour of Change
Canadian Federation of Students-Ontario
Bread and Bricks Social Justice Group
Davenport Perth Community Ministry
Sayeda Khadija Centre
Canadian Centre For Deen Studies
Brampton Sunnatul Islamic Association
Olive Tree Foundation
The United Church of Canada
OECTA
Windsor & District Labour Council
PSAC Ontario
Canada Employment and Immigration Union
IBEW Local 353
Beach United Church
OECTA Simcoe Muskoka Elementary
United Steelworkers
Noor Cultural Centre
Anglican Diocese of Toronto
Centre for Social Innovation
Lawrence Park Community Church
Shining Waters Regional Council of the United Church
ODLC
USW 5328

 

 

UARR Welcomes OHRC’s Interim Report, A Collective Impact, on anti-Black racism in Toronto policing

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations commends the Ontario Human Rights Commission for its work on presenting the findings in their interim report, A Collective Impact — data that reveals deeply disturbing acts of racial profiling and anti-Black racism by the Toronto Police. The UARR calls on the Toronto Police Service, the Toronto Police Services Board, the City of Toronto, and the Government of Ontario to acknowledge the racial disparities and community experiences outlined in the interim report, and to act immediately.

Thirty years of reports tell us that anti-Black racism is at the core of the disproportionately deadly interactions of Toronto police with the Black community. The UARR stands with community to demand that the TPS hold itself to a higher standard.

Interactions between Black people and the Toronto Police Service have resulted in fear, trauma, and mistrust. The over-policing of Black communities and the aggressive use of police force does not help to foster the positive relationship needed for a safer city; rather, it further contributes to the growing inequities and racial divide that continue to plague the city of Toronto.

Furthermore, the UARR is concerned by the provincial government’s rollback of Bill 175, which included necessary reforms to strengthen police oversight; the recent cuts to Ontario’s Anti-Racism Directorate, a body doing crucial work toward racial justice; and the appointment of a long-time friend of the Premier to the role of Commissioner to the Ontario Provincial Police. These recent decisions have led the UARR to remain sceptical that the Government of Ontario will implement the recommendations outlined in the report.

Lastly, the City of Toronto must also use its powers to implement the recommendations in the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism, the first of its kind in the country, having great potential to improve the lives of Black people across the city.

The interim report is disheartening, but unsurprising. We hope the TPS and TPSB will continue to support the OHRC’s inquiry into racial profiling and racial discrimination against Black persons.

Health, Not Hate: Exploring the Health-Related Impacts of Hate on Targeted Communities and Sharing Strategies for Resistance and Resilience

IYHD flyer-HealthNotHate 2018

Please join us on December 10th, 6:30 – 9:00 pm at the North York Civic Centre Council Chamber as we mark the International Human Rights Day with a forum bringing together human rights, health equity and social determinants of health perspectives –
A panel of human rights advocates, educators and researchers will explore:
  • The impact of the rising hate and white nationalism on the health and wellbeing of our communities.
  • Research on the impact of discrimination, marginalization and exclusion as Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). What are the unique issues and perspectives?
  • What are the ways in which we rise up, resist and build resilience? What does self-care look like and what strategies can we share?
  • What is the responsibility of our elected leaders, public institutions and organizations in opposing fascist rhetoric and intervening to stop the spread of hate in our city?
AGENDA
6:30 pm – Doors Open and Registration
7:00-9:00 pm – Panel and Discussion with Audience Questions and Comments
PANEL
  • Berkha Gupta, executive director of LGBT Youthline focused on increasing services/programming for LGBTQ people, especially youth and people of colour
  • Sol Mamakwa, Co-chair of the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre and lead health advisor for the Nishnawbe-Aski Nation
  • Karen Mock, human rights consultant, former executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation, and president of JSpace Canada
  • Siham Rayale, scholar, researcher, anti-racism educator, and former coordinator of UARR Roots Project engaging Tamil and Somali Youth
  • Anjum Sultana, health equity advocate, founder of Racial Health Equity Network and Manager of Policy & Strategic Communications at YWCA Canada
  • Moderated by Bernie Farber, writer, commentator and chair of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network
  • Performance by the Reaching Intelligent Souls Everywhere (RISE)  
LOCATION
North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers
5100 Yonge Street, Toronto
TTC: North York Centre
This is a free event open to the public.
Please RSVP: www.healthnothate.eventbrite.ca 
Suggested donation to help cover our costs: $5-10
INFO AND ACCESSIBILITY:
The North York Civic Centre and Council Chambers are wheelchair accessible.
This station is accessible North York Centre is an accessible TTC stop. For additional TTC accessibility info

For information and accommodation requests* contact: info@urbanalliance.ca or 416-703-6607

*Please send any accommodation requests by December 1st to allow for sufficient time to arrange the necessary services/supports.

UARR would like to thank our event partners and sponsors:

To the Directors of the Aurea Foundation and the Advisors of the Munk Debates: Steve Bannon is not welcome in Toronto

October 10, 2018

 

Open letter to:

Naylor and Associates
400 Logan Avenue
Toronto, ON M4M 2N9
By email: info@naylorandassociates.com

To the Directors of the Aurea Foundation and the Advisors of the Munk Debates:

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations, together with our supporters at the Toronto Labour Council, Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario, Canadian Anti-Hate Network, Canadian Council of Muslim Women, JSpaceCanada, The Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom–Toronto, and the East End United Regional Ministry, are contacting the Directors of the Munk Debates and the Aurea Foundation to express our grave concerns regarding the upcoming Munk Debate. On November 2, Steve Bannon and David Frum will be debating the rise of populism: “Be it resolved, the future of western politics is populist, not liberal…” As beneficiaries of a liberal society, we encourage all public debate including those on controversial topics. Such dialogues are a welcome indicator of a democratic society. However, we believe that Mr. Bannon’s participation is inconsistent with the purpose of such debates and indeed, that it diverges from the principles of democratic and civil society.

We are requesting that the debate be cancelled just as The New Yorker Magazine rescinded its invitation to Bannon at its annual festival. As reported on CBC (Sept 25, 2018), “Within hours of making the announcement, New Yorker editor David Remnick decided to cancel the interview, saying he did not want Bannon to ‘propel further the ideas of white nationalism, racism, anti-Semitism and illiberalism.’ ”

Our objections to Bannon are based on his record a partial list of which includes:

  • The Munk Debate website quotes Bannon as stating, “I want to bring everything crashing down and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Many critics describe Bannon’s political orientation as consistent with fascism. At the very least, it expedites what we observe as the rise of authoritarian regimes internationally.
  • The Times (May 28, 2018) quotes Bannon: “People only use words like fascist or racist when they can’t debate the facts. I wear it with pride when they call me a racist. I go, ‘You know why you’re doing that? Because you don’t want to talk about economic nationalism.’ ”
  • As former Executive Chairman of Breitbart News, he once described Breitbart as “the platform for the alt-right.” The Southern Poverty Law Centre describes this movement as “a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that ‘white identity’ is under attack by multicultural forces…”
  • Breitbart news has featured “violent, sexist, extremist and radical political content,”according to one corporation that joined over 2,000 organizations and companies in pulling its ads off the platform.

 

Bannon’s populism and “economic nationalism” antagonizes divisions between groups and is intended to recruit ultra-right extremists. It confers legitimacy on discriminatory actions against Muslims, Jews, Blacks, Indigenous peoples, racialized persons, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ persons, women, trade unionists, and those who support diverse political views. It threatens our sense of belongingness to society, and undermines the mutual trust on which the sharing of public space rests. It threatens the enjoyment of our Charter rights to freedom of religion, speech, assembly and association.

While the Munk Debates and the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy share only a funding agency, it is important to note that Bannon contradicts the activities of the latter institution. The Munk School’s 2017-18 Strategic Plan describes public engagement in areas such as “rising threats to open society”: “Suspicion of outsiders. Resentment of elites. Intolerance of differentness. Silencing of dissent. Around the world, populist leaders and authoritarian regimes magnify supposed threats while promising a better future—or a return to a mythical past. There’s a willingness to abandon long-held givens of the social contract, to break presumed ‘rules’ that are in fact mere conventions. Groups who feel forgotten want order imposed on uncertainty, often at the expense of tolerance and due process. Others fear for the future of open society, and even for their lives.” p. 20). In his current work as advisor to ultra-conservative parties and governments in Europe, Steve Bannon clearly and publicly embraces populist leadership and support for authoritarianism. Fear of its consequences are real.

The line between respectful debate representing diverse views and providing a platform for views that are violent in their intent can be a fine one. Bannon seeks to dismantle the very principles that enabled his participation in this debate. By offering him the space to articulate his outlook, the Munk Debates imply their legitimacy. It confers respectability on them. Bannon’s remarks and influence have real consequences for us, for all Torontonians, and for the majority of people around the world. Indeed, these consequences are concrete for countless groups and individuals every day.

Whether directly or indirectly, Bannon encourages extremist groups like the Canadian Combat Coalition, La Meute, Soldiers of Odin, and the Proud Boys that we are hearing all

too much about. Followers of these groups are responsible for far more terrorism than any fabricated racialized enemy that they wish to blame for these acts. In Toronto, three far-right leaders—all of whom have publicly called for white nationalism and all of whom romanticize Nazism—are so emboldened that they came forward as Toronto mayoral candidates. Suddenly, what was inconceivable is not only possible, but normal.

We will be contacting the media in our urgent request that you intervene to stop this debate as a director of the Aurea Foundation and an advisor to the Munk Debates. We hope you agree with us that the November 2 Munk Debate in which Steve Bannon appears is an offense to these organizations, to democratic principles, and to all Canadians.

Signed,

Nigel Barriffe, President, Urban Alliance on Race Relations

Bernie M. Farber, Chair, Canadian Anti-Hate Network
John Cartwright, President, Toronto and York Region Labour Council
Nour Alideeb, Chairperson, Canadian Federation of Students – Ontario
Nuzhat Jafri, Director, Canadian Council of Muslim Women
Dr. Karen Mock, C.M., President, J-SpaceCanada
Rev. Sarah Miller, East End United Regional Ministry
Dr. Cynthia Levine-Rasky and Sabreena Ghaffar-Siddiqui, Coordinators, Sisterhood of Salaam Shalom–Toronto